From the Treasurer’s Desk

Ken Hanson, HPCC Treasurer

Perhaps like many of us this time of year, I am perpetually trying to catch up and address the priority items on my list. Even after spending 30 years living in Alaska, I still find the short days to both physically and emotionally limit my daily to-do list and activities. The holiday season affords an opportunity to take time (or make time…) to reflect on our blessings and reconnect with family, friends and community. 

While our neighbors lost an un-occupied home to fire; as a community, High Prairie has much to be thankful for. As you are reading this High Prairian, community volunteers have stepped in. We are thankful to have our editor Gwen Berry resting and recovering from black-ice related injuries which easily could have ended differently! As I write this (at absolute deadline…), I am watching the day dawn over Dillacourt Canyon and our Community Center. I mentally overlay the images we have recently seen of Paradise CA and other areas. Neighbors; as we know, High Prairie is also textbook “Wildland-Urban Interface.” We recognize the potential of an errant spark in our late summer Gorge winds… Our volunteer fire department and first responders will be who run to defend our community. Look out your own window and think about which version of “Paradise” you would like to see in the future. Supporting these volunteers is personally important to me, and a primary focus of the High Prairie Community Council.   

To this end, I am looking forward to our HP Community Brunch on January 12. I will be preparing and serving food. In the past, I was a member of a group of men who prepared a recurring breakfast, and I still fondly recall the times we shared. Mark your calendars and think about how YOU can extend your post-holiday community fellowship by not only attending, but volunteering to help make this event and our community happen. If you want to help prepare and cook, you can call me directly. Event details are provided elsewhere in the High Prairian. I am also hoping to have made time to install and premiere the new wall display system recently purchased for the Community Center.  

As we are in the home stretch of holiday giving, don’t forget HPCC benefits when you do your shopping through Amazon Smile. “High Prairie Community Council” has an account, and can be located by entering this in the field to support your charity of choice. On a similar note, if you are a Fred Meyer shopper, remember you can support HPCC while ALSO still receiving your regular benefits. Stop by the service center on the way in next time to sign up. 

I am negotiating to have a special speaker for the February HPCC meeting. Mark your calendar. Call that new neighbor down the road and invite them to this meeting. 

Merry Christmas!

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New Year’s Resolution

Audrey Bentz

Yes, it’s time to look for a plan to get your body and mental energy in top shape. It’s called YOGA! Jennifer Wykstrom has to be one of the best instructors ever, and she only asks for a donation (plus a $1 donation for Center use).  We meet Wednesdays at 6–7 p.m. at the Community Center.

Why Yoga? “Yoga’s health benefits can be explained by the fact that the various stretching, breathing, movement, balance, meditative and and strength practices provide many of the same benefits as walking, weight lifting, or biofeedback, and it can be fun!” 
— T. McCall, MD

If you are concerned about keeping up in the class, note that even us 80+ year olds feel comfortable doing only what “feels comfortable,” and Jen encourages that too.

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Christmas at the Castle

Lozetta Doll

Bill Stallings and Diane Cazelet are very gracious in sharing their Schilling Road Castle with guests from near and far. The High Prairie group “The Needlers” has been the beneficiary of many fun gatherings, some occurring during the winter months. Part of the “fun” in some instances has been getting there, and discussing the adventures later.

I remember a Valentine’s Day in February 2017. Bill and Diane were as snowed in as the rest of High Prairie but they didn’t let that damper their enthusiasm for a party. Even after a valiant attempt by Earl Kemp to plow their driveway, it still remained impassable to most vehicles. Not to be deterred, Bill shuttled all of us up the hill from our cars which we parked down on the road.

I can’t remember the year of the Christmas party that we talk about the most. The snow was not so terribly deep but the wind was howling, especially at their elevation. Bill was busy helping women from their cars to the house as I drove up with Dona Taylor and Becky Jester. I suggested to Becky that she should remain in the pickup while I helped Dona into the house. As we struggled toward the house, the card on Dona’s gift went flying with the wind, not to be retrieved. By the time I made my way back to the pickup, Becky was hanging onto the door trying to keep from being blown away. All made it safely inside where we enjoyed the party, despite glancing nervously out the windows occasionally at the snow blowing horizontally. Then at the end of the afternoon, most of our vehicles’ doors were frozen shut and had to be pried open. Everyone got home safely though I remember some white-knuckle driving. 

We’re dreaming of a white Christmas – ha!

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Winter Emergency Preparedness

Debbie McDonald

As much as I tried to deny it, winter is here along with the need to check out our winter emergency supplies. The most likely winter natural disasters in High Prairie are ice and snow storms but the electricity could also go out making heat, shelter, fuel and water a high priority. Plus, how many of us will either leave the area traveling to an unfamiliar area or have visitors over this holiday season? Both situations require extra planning. 

Step 1 – Make A Plan and talk about your plan with your family members and visitors. If you’re not all together when that disaster hits, how will you communicate? Where will you meet? Can you meet?  Talking your plan through will give you great peace of mind.

I’d rather shelter in place during a storm. Step 2 – Make a 72 hour kit (two weeks is better) with non-perishable food, manual can opener, 1 gallon of water per day per person minimum (remember those visitors!), alternate fuel, heat, blankets, flashlights with fresh batteries and other items recommended by FEMA at You probably already have supplies on hand but it helps to take an inventory, and it’s easy to stock up a few cans or items at a time.

If you have family members (or visitors) with special needs, stock up on those items. Babies need, well, baby food and formula (is this a canned item or do you need extra water?) along with a large supply of diapers and wipes. Elderly folks may also have special diets or needs. 

There are many items you could include in your 72 hour kit as this is very personal depending on your situation. Write items down and check them off as you acquire them. If extra blankets or sleeping bags or toilet paper is stored away, make sure every family member knows where items are stored.

Step 3 – Make a communication plan. Ron and I had each had a communication plan in our heads but hadn’t written it down. Recently we took an hour to brainstorm, write down what each of us had in mind, and came up with some great ideas that we agreed upon and wrote down with some to-do items to make it even better. So much piece of mind. I recommend a little book called Personal Emergency Communications by Andrew Baze for ideas on a number of communication possibilities.

Speaking of communication, here are some questions to ponder. Have you signed up for emergency notifications from Klickitat County (  Do it now. Have you talked to your children’s school to see what their plan is for winter emergencies? Do they have supplies to shelter in place or will they transport your children home? What if roads are impassible? What if you were stuck at work and couldn’t return home? Can you count on your employer to provide the basics—not the binder for the lawyers that my employer keeps—practical, on-site preparations are what count.

While it is important for you to be self-sufficient during the winter season, it is also important to find out what your neighbors may need or may be able to contribute. Who has 1st aid skills? Do you have neighbors who are elderly or have special needs to be checked on? Sometimes folks forget that each and every one of them have skills to share. Make a personal list and you’ll feel better knowing you have skills that others value. 

Who has alternative energy sources? Who might have items you could barter for and what could you use for barter? Who has meat processing skills, or alternate communication skills? Who can cook from scratch over a fire? Once you make a skills inventory, I’ll bet you are much more prepared than you think and neighbors are more willing to share once they know you are prepared.

According to WSDOT, here’s how to prepare for winter driving:

Winter Driving – Emergency Car Kit and Preparations

Check your tires and make sure your chains fit before the first winter storm and check tire pressure during cold weather. Remember, tire shops and mechanics are busiest just before and during winter storms.

Get a vehicle winter maintenance check-up. Don’t wait to check your battery, belts, hoses, radiator, lights, brakes, heater/defroster and wipers.

Keep your fuel tank full – don’t let it fall below half a tank on winter trips. (Debbie’s tip: Make this a habit year round.)

Program your radio for traffic reports and emergency messages (for WSDOT radio: 530 and 1610 AM).

What to carry on winter trips:

Keep a basic winter survival kit in your vehicle: flashlight, batteries, blanket, snacks, water, gloves, boots, shoe traction devices like YakTraks, first-aid kit. (Debbie’s tip: keep a shaker container filled with non-clumping kitty litter where it’s easy to access from your car seat. Sprinkle some on the ground before you take that first swiveling-one-legged step—Dutch Reach—out of your car. Ice is often hard to see in a parking lot.)

Load your car with winter travel gear: tire chains, ice scraper/snowbrush, jumper cables, road flares. (Debbie’s tip: flares now come in reusable LED road flare disks; jumper cables are built into battery packs that need no other car, plus they have great features to charge your technology or use as a flashlight/signaler.)

See more winter preparedness tips at

If you find yourself stranded, be safe, stay in your car, put on your flashers, call for help and wait until it arrives.

Now’s the time to make your winter preparations. (Debbie’s tip: Maybe a loved one could use a gift to help with their emergency preparations.)  By definition, once a disaster happens, it is too late to prepare.

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Judy Alef
Submitted by Mertie McKercher

This poem was written by a dear friend, Judy Alef, who was our neighbor when we lived in Portland, Sadly she now has dementia. She wrote this in 2006 when she stayed at our house with animals while we vacationed. Thus the following:

The deep throated chime sounds its call to prayer. Its low tones move below the arial wave of small birds gliding from fence post to feeder.

Below them the topographic map of this place is filled with trace depressions, paths that betray the silent journeys of deer and turkey. A sentinal appears from the scrub oak below the trace. Perfect stillness the doe capable only of clearly seeing movement to determine my presence. I sit frozen now to the side and behind me they come to forage around the edges of my world. I breathe slowly and we stare at each other till we are one.

My yearning for the coffee cup beside me is satisfied when the herd moves into the shadows and one by one drop down into the tawny grass to rest. My vision is now the doe’s; I no longer see form, only movement of a twitching ear or the slap of a white tail.

Coffee now in hand complete contentment is the order of the day.

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Office Space for Rent

Office space available for long term rent at the Lyle Activity Center. The office is approximately 108 sq. ft. plus a private half bathroom and a deep closet. There is also an additional sink, counter and cabinet space in the room for extra storage. Perfect for someone practicing massage or wellness therapies. The Lyle Activity Center is located on the corner of Hwy 14 & Third Streets.  $225/month rent includes utilities and WiFi and the use of classrooms for larger meetings or events.   

For more information or to schedule a visit please email to Discount available for non-profit organizations!

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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

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Ass Over Teakettle & How To Avoid It

Gwen Berry

In case you missed it, Jake and I were in a rollover accident on November 24. Jake escaped mostly unscathed, I had a few fairly serious injuries, and the pickup was totaled. We wrote about it in an email last week which you can find, along with photos, below.

I will say, the crash must have been spectacular! As near as we can piece together, this is what happened. The pickup hit black ice, started fishtailing and skated toward the shoulder. One or both right-hand tires went off onto the shoulder. Seeing the shoulder ahead narrowing to a slope, I reacted automatically (though erroneously). I steered left too sharply and started to brake. We think a contributing factor was that the braking right front wheel found bare pavement while the rest of the truck was still following through with great momentum. The front right corner became a fulcrum as the back end flew up and over the front. The pickup rolled onto its hood, then came down on the driver’s side roof. It continued over, smashed up the driver’s side of the pickup, came to rest back on its wheels, then finished by rolling backwards into the ditch on the other side of the road. Wow!

Here’s what I’ve been reading up on lately, and I want to share it with you—information on driving when there’s a chance of black ice and what to do if you hit it.

Make sure you have good winter tires on your vehicle. Be aware of road and air temperature, and note  sources of moisture such as rain, melting snow, or condensing mist. Keep an eye on weather and listen to road reports. If weather is bad and could lead to icy roads, stay home.

Know where and when to expect black ice. Black ice forms at about freezing. It’s more likely to form during the night or morning when it’s coldest; in areas that don’t receive much sunshine (such as tree-lined roads); on bridges, overpasses and underpasses; and on roads that are less traveled.

Black ice is often difficult to see, but be on the lookout for a glossy area on an otherwise dull road surface and notice when vehicles ahead are making odd maneuvers indicative of slippery conditions. Expect the possibility of ice when you enter shaded or low lying areas.

It’s a good idea to practice driving on ice. Go to a safe area such as a large, deserted (icy) parking lot. Try driving and braking. Get a feel for your vehicle, how it moves on ice, what works and what doesn’t.

When you’re on the road, slow way down. Drive cautiously and stay aware. Avoid distractions. Don’t tailgate. Keep your windshield cleaned off for good visibility. Never use cruise control in potentially slippery conditions. Avoid quick turns, or sudden accelerating or braking.

If you do hit black ice, remain calm and avoid overreacting. The general rule is to do as little as possible and allow the car to pass over the ice. Black ice is often (although not always) patchy, so hopefully your tires will soon find traction. Do not hit the brakes, and try to keep the steering wheel straight. If you feel the back end of your car sliding left or right, make a very gentle turn of the steering wheel in the same direction. If you try to struggle against it by steering in the opposite direction, you risk skidding or spinning out. Decelerate and shift into a low gear if possible. You have more control at slower speeds.

Some braking will be necessary if skidding a lot: If you have anti-lock braking system (ABS), just put your foot on the brake, apply firm pressure and the car will pump the brakes for you as you skid. If you don’t have ABS, pump the brakes gently as you skid. Steer the car in the direction you want the car to go. 

Remember that even if you have all-wheel drive, 4-wheel drive, or an SUV, once you lose traction the car itself won’t help you. Drive safely and cautiously no matter what your vehicle is. 

Finally, check out this excellent video on driving on icy roads:

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Rollover Accident

Dear friends, 

We know there have been lots of questions about our accident in our Tundra pickup that happened on November 24th. We intended to get information out sooner but, well, it’s been a challenging couple of weeks. So here are the basics. We’re aiming  to have a more complete description in the High Prairian.

On Saturday the 24th, we were headed for a meeting in Bingen. Gwen was driving west on Centerville Highway. She had passed the old fire hall and came around a slight curve when the pickup hit an icy stretch of road shaded by trees. Even though she was driving fairly cautiously because of the possibility of ice, we were sliding on it before we knew it was there. 

We’ve discussed over and over how we think it happened but suffice it to say that the rear of the pickup flew up as the truck rolled over, then it came down hard on the driver’s side roof and rolled over onto its wheels. It must have been spectacular. 

Jake came out of it relatively unhurt, with a bump on one side of his head-—which was a good thing, because when he turned to check on Gwen it was obvious her injuries were serious. She was out cold and bleeding freely from long lacerations to the scalp, and with other potentially serious injuries unknown at the time. First Responders from Lyle and High Prairie Fire Districts had to cut off the truck’s roof to get Gwen on a backboard and cervical collar before she could be removed from the driver’s seat. She was whisked away by Life Flight to the trauma center in Yakima. HP Fire Chief Tim Darland drove Jake to Yakima.

At the hospital it was determined Gwen had received a severe concussion (thankfully, no worse!) and it took 49 staples to put her scalp back together. She also has a compression fracture of one vertebra high in her back (T4) between the shoulder blades, and a matching fracture of the manubrium, the bone at the top of the sternum where the collar bones attach.

We’ve been home for about a week and a half now. We are doing okay. Gwen is recovering slowly from the concussion with rest and quiet. She’ll be wearing a neck and back brace for a few months while her fractures heal. Jake has made use of the peace and quiet, too, to recover from what may have been a mild concussion and, of course, to let things settle after the trauma of the whole experience.

We want to thank all the Lyle and High Prairie First Responders and Klickitat County ambulance crew who sprang into action and rushed to our aid, as well as the crew of the Life Flight helicopter that transported Gwen to Yakima. A special thanks to Tim Darland for seeing that Jake got safely to Yakima and into the hands of friends there.

We also wish to thank all our High Prairie friends and neighbors for their concern and support during this time. Many have offered help and food, for which Jake, the newly appointed chief cook, bottle washer and constant caregiver, is especially appreciative.

Gwen & Jake

Tundra aftermath

Driver’s seat

Gwen with assistance from Ben Parrish modeling the latest in braceware.

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New Year Brunch Date Set

Sharon Aleckson

In households throughout our community, the final preparations for Christmas are underway. There are last minute gifts to buy and wrap, decorations to put up, parties to attend, and the list of things to do gets longer as the countdown to Christmas draws nearer. Sorry to have to do this, but I would like to add one more thing to your TO DO LIST. Please reserve January 12 for a brunch at our community center. The time set for this event is from 10:00–1:00. The final planning meeting for this brunch is December 17—after the Board Meeting. Further information about this event will be forthcoming in an e-mail from Barb after all details have been finalized. Anyone interested in helping with this event, please contact Sharon 509-365-4429 or Barb 509-281- 0933. We’re looking forward to seeing you at the brunch on JANUARY 12, if not before.

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Firelines: Structure Fire Report

Tim Darland

High Prairie Fire Department gains a new Fire Commissioner, Anthony Perry. Welcome Anthony. We look forward in working with you over the ensuing months and/or years. A special thank you to Arlen Alekson for his service over the last 4 years.   

As I think back about fire department activities over the last year, I am filled with a host of emotions. These emotions range from excitement to sorrow. Department members had sought out and received grants and donations to the tune of $440,000, saved lives and property, extinguished fires and responded to motor vehicle accidents and medical emergencies. To date, we have had 117 calls for 2018 and had many “saves” but sometimes the outcome leaves us loosing family, neighbors, friends, property and homes. I shared an emotional experience at an HPCC meeting regarding a recent structure fire that I want to reflect upon. 

Volunteer fire departments often at times get a bad rap regarding structure fires. Many anecdotes out there end with the joke of “we never lost a foundation yet.” Spoiler alert, that’s how this story ends however, the details tell the true story. Please read the following report. 

On Saturday October 20th at 0701 hours High Prairie Fire District 14 and Lyle Fire District 4 were paged to a possible fire/burn pile on South Prairie Road. At 0703 hours, Dispatch re-paged Fire Districts 14 and 4 to inform them of a structure fire at 118 South Prairie Road. Districts 4 and 14 have an automatic aid agreement. Fire Chiefs from FD’s 14 and 4 responded at 0705 hours. Fire Chief Tim Darland upon arrival at 0714 hours, reported to dispatch that there was a fully involved structure and to request mutual aid from Southwest Fire with SCBA (self contained breathing apparatus) entry level certified personnel. Chief Darland assumed command of the fire. Fire Chief Dave McCune of FD 4 arrived on scene at 0715 hours. During the initial walk-around assessment, the fire activity appeared to have dominated the kitchen area as that was the location of the highest severity of fire activity. The smoke detectors were activated. One of the reporting parties had taken two photos (thank you Samuel) around 0700 hours which confirms the highest severity of burning occurred in the kitchen area.

FD 14 1st due out Engine 1411 was in route at 0712 hours and arrived on scene at 0718 hours with 2 on board. During initial attack, three 1¾” preconnect hose lays were deployed, one to the north, one to the East and one to the west side of the building. Water and class A foam started flowing at 0720 hours. Aid 14 with one on board was in route at 0719 hours which would be utilized for firefighter rehab if needed. FD 14 1st due out Water Tender was in route at 0724 with one on board and the 2nd due out Water Tender was in route at 0727 hours with one on board. Once the water tenders were on-scene, a 2½” supply line was connected to Engine 1411.   

FD 4 1st due out Engine 401 arrived at 0724 hours with 2 on board. FD 4 Water Tender arrived at 0725 hours with 1 on board. Southwest Fire Truck #9 was in route at 0730 hours with 3 on board including Fire Chief Bill Hunsaker. Two firefighters in SCBA’s entered the structure and knocked down the fire. Attempts were made to enter the basement/crawl space, however, considering firefighter safety—the power not being disconnected and standing water in the area—the firefighters exited.

At 0739 hours the roof had noticeable sag and all firefighters exited the structure and overhaul would continue from outside the structure. Incident command notified Dispatch to page out Centerville Fire District 5 for support in overhaul activities. FD 5 was in route at 0742 hours with 3 on board in Brush 531 and FD 5 Chief Lawrence Browning in Command 5. 

Progress was being made attacking the fire from outside the structure. Smoke was visibly protruding from the vents around the bedrooms located at the south side of the structure. 

Multiple attempts were made to access the crawl space from outside the structure and Incident Command had discussions with Officers on scene for other tactics to control the fire. The only access to the basement/crawlspace was under the main living area from the north. Due to firefighter safety the crawl space could not be safely entered with the compromised roof and floor in the main living area. At 0859 hours, Incident Command contacted Dispatch to inform them we were taking a defensive approach and letting the structure burn.  

Dallesport Medic arrived on scene at 0901 hours to monitor firefighter health and rehab as necessary. 

Mutual aid resources began returning to their respective FD around 1000 hours. 

Mop up of the structure was completed at 1552 hours.

FD 14 units returned to the station and rehab of the equipment
was completed at 1745  hours. 

—End of Report—

In reviewing the pictures that Samuel took around 0700, my guess is that the fire was burning for 2 or more hours prior to the fire district response. This time is extremely hard to make up while trying to extinguish a fully involved structure.  All of our firefighters from multiple fire districts that were on scene did an amazing job almost catching this fire. This was a tough pill to swallow to take the defensive and allow the structure to completely burn to the foundation knowing we were so close to getting the fire out.  As you read through the narrative of the actions on the fire scene, firefighter safety will always guide the decisions made by Incident Command. I am truly honored to serve side by side with all of our first responders! 

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Firewise Reminders

Tom McMackin

High Prairie is recertified as a FireWise Community for 2018!

Thank you to all who participated in the open house events and contributed questions, answers and suggestions regarding the ideas behind program and things you were doing to create safer, defensible space for your house and properties. Every project, large or small contributes to your safety and the safety of our community member and first responders when a wildfire emergency happens. Fire in wild areas, rural communities and at the margins of the ‘WUI’—Wildland Urban Interface is a natural process for ecological renewal of our prairies, woodlands and forests. Lightning or a random spark or the natural composting of dead and decomposing materials are the basic ignition sources that start fires. In most cases, the fires were of low intensity and worked to clear underbrush and debris in order to maintain the natural succession of varied flora and fauna species.

In those areas where humans have moved to work, live and play, they’ve brought other elements and activities that generate the potential for fire ignitions. 90% of fires are human sourced. Being proactive and safety conscious would make a tremendous difference in the impact of wildfires in these environments. Other major human factors are the historic wildlands management practices. There are things we can do to mitigate some natural and most human fire factors. We also know there are forces of Nature that are out of our control or mitigation. The rapid, uncontrolled expansion of the Sub-Station Fire east of The Dalles and the tragic Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise, CA were wind driven conflagrations in tinder dry, accumulated fuels. There was little direct action that responders could initiate to quell these firestorms. All actions were defensive re-actions to what the fire was doing within the natural environment and the areas of human interface.    

2019 FireWise events will continue being scheduled to provide current information and resources, as well as materials for the “Ready, Set, Go!’ program. Preparation for self-sufficiently in any emergency and evacuation procedures will also be themes for this year presentations. There are High Prairie folks available to consult on FireWise things you can initiate now to prepare for 2019 season.

Contact me if you’d like more information on the ‘Firewise’ and ‘Ready, Set, Go!’ programs, if you have comments or suggestions, or if you would like to be more involved with the High Prairie Firewise effort. I can answer questions and get you connected with the resources we have available as a recognized Firewise Community. Contact me by email at or by phone message by calling 509-365-2786.

Online resources: 

Firewise –  or

Ready, Set, Go! –  or

This link offers a recipe and one view of listing time and priority tasks for evacuation action.

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Bugs ‘N’ Bones

Cindy Henchell, (with lots of help from Ken Hansen)

Many Klickitat County residents may not realize one of the state’s largest employers resides right here in High Prairie! With a payroll of about 1.4 million “employees,” these workers happily work overtime hours without complaint, and complete their tasks merely for food, all within 300 square feet of space. This workforce consists of flesh-eating beetles, and work for Kodiak Bones & Bugs Taxidermy.  

The “crew” hard at work.

Dermestid, or “flesh-eating beetles,” are the preferred method of preparing trophy skulls and bones, for eventual display. Unlike boiling, which can damage delicate structures, crack teeth and loosen sutures, dermestids are surgical in their cleaning, leaving the skull in pristine condition (so clean, in fact, they have no remaining flesh odor). Following beetle cleaning, the skulls are then “degreased” and lastly whitened with hydrogen peroxide.

Ken holds a large Kodiak brown bear skull he cleaned with dermestids.

Kodiak Bugs & Bones Taxidermy was opened in 2007, at the request of the bear-hunting guides on Kodiak Island Alaska, who’s clients wanted their trophies beetle cleaned. This collaboration grew from a colony Ken Hansen was then maintaining for doing his own and hunting-partner’s skulls. With a long and liberal deer season, and Spring/Fall bear seasons, combined with unlimited waste fish on which to feed in the off-season, the dermestid population quickly bloomed. While many small business clean skulls with dermestids, Ken soon recognized the real potential was in the “byproduct…” Remembering his earlier difficulty in locating his own starter colony, Ken redirected his business to filling this need.  

In 2015, Ken & Deb moved to High Prairie, following Ken’s retirement from NOAA Enforcement, where he supervised commercial fisheries law enforcement. Kodiak Bugs & Bones Taxidermy moved with them to a purpose-built shop; a big step up from the oversized storage room in a fish processor on the Kodiak waterfront where the business had been residing. Today, Ken limits his efforts to about 40 skulls annually, predominantly deer and elk. 

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